The Anticipatory Grief of Living Through a Pandemic

The Great Believers, a Novel of the AIDS Crisis, Reminds Us That ‘We Are the Memory-Keepers of This Moment’

To be a survivor of wars, of diseases, of earth-shattering moments is to be an inheritor. You inherit the grief that comes with loss; but you also inherit the memories, and the responsibility and privilege of preserving those moments, of carrying on the legacies of those lost.

The role of memory-keeper is a tangled one, as Rebecca Makkai discovered when she interviewed patients, doctors, nurses, activists, and historians who lived through the AIDS epidemic for her 2018 novel, The Great Believers. The book is a provocative read during the COVID-19 …

I Had to Go to Finland to Imagine How to Fix Fresno

Fresno's Obsession with Self-Reliance Is Not Helping Its Drug Problems, but Its Volunteer Needle Exchange Is

I grew up Fresno, but I fled as fast as I could. With its agriculturalist roots, the local political culture was narrated through the lens of rugged individualist ideals and …

AIDS in the New, Prosperous China

A City Crippled by an HIV Epidemic in the 1990s Tries to Keep Up with Its Nation’s Ambitions

The village where Kang lives is as far removed as one could possibly get from New York, where I now live. It is located outside of Shangcai, a small town …

Why I Want ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ to Win Best Picture

A Historian Says the Movie Captures the Emotional Exhaustion Hundreds of Thousands of Americans Experienced During the HIV/AIDS Crisis of the ’80s and ’90s

I don’t usually bother with the Oscars, but this Sunday I’ll be on my sofa, snacks in hand, watching the 86th annual Academy Awards in real time. I’m forgoing my …

Can a Sculpture Help Solve an Epidemic?

World AIDS Day Is a Reminder of Art’s Power to Save Lives

Twenty-five years ago, I was foraging through a museum bookstore and came upon an eye-catching title: AIDS: Cultural Analysis/Cultural Activism. The word “AIDS,” rendered on the cover in large font, …